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35 percent of coronavirus patients could be asymptomatic, CDC says

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Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are of great concern to public health officials and lawmakers due to their ability to spread the virus without knowing they’re sick themselves.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than a third of COVID-19 patients could be asymptomatic.

The new guidance, which the agency says is “designed to help inform decisions by modelers and public health officials who utilize mathematical modeling,” lists five scenarios and notes scenario five, which has 35 percent of COVID-19 patients as asymptomatic, as its “current best estimate.”

It also notes that 0.4 percent of those who do show symptoms will die from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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The most at-risk group is people 65 and older, with the CDC saying it expects 1.3 percent of those who symptoms to die. The next most at-risk group is people between the age of 50 and 64, with the agency estimating 0.2 percent of these symptomatic patients will die.

The CDC says these values are based on data received by the agency before April 29, and the numbers are subject to change as the pandemic goes into the later months of the year. As of Friday morning, more than 94,000 people have died in the U.S., according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The high number of asymptomatic patients has led to concerns of a so-called “second wave” of the coronavirus pandemic cropping up later this year. However, some have suggested rolling on and off lockdowns to deal with the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the CDC said there was mounting evidence that suggests the novel coronavirus can be transmitted from presymptomatic or asymptomatic individuals, bolstering the argument for maintaining proper social distancing measures and possibly impacting the case-fatality rate for COVID-19.

In April, the CDC estimated some 25 percent of cases could be asymptomatic. However, that number varied for different groups, including as high as 70 percent for military personnel, according to the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten.

As of Friday morning, more than 5.12 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, more than 1.57 million of which are in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.

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